Daily Devotional 3-18-18

Your Pastor Needs a Priest (and so do you)

“The High Priest of Solomon’s Temple,” from a panel, Free-Masonry hall in Great Britain. Artist: Unknown.

“The one that you’ve been waiting for is here.” This is a summary of the message of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews who were living in Rome. This book is about the supremacy of Jesus Christ over the Old Covenant Levitical laws, and other types in the Old Testament. The passage that we read today from Hebrews 5:5-10 is part of a larger argument to present Jesus Christ as a prophet, priest, and king.[1] There is an urgency to impress upon the Hebrews that the message is real. There is an urgency I feel today to impress upon you that the message is relevant.

Give attention to the reading of the errant and the infallible word of the living God.

Hebrews 5:5-10

Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest but was appointed by the one who said to him, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you”; as he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.”

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the Word of the Lord will endure forever.

This morning I want to bring your message on these passages that I’m calling “Your Pastor Needs a Priest and so do You.” Let us pray.

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be always acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

When I say that you and I need a priest, I need to clarify this. The priest of the Anglican Church is holding an office in which the word for his office is derived from an older English word meaning presbyter.[2] He is not saying that he is an intermediary in any way other than pastoral. However, the understanding within Roman Catholicism is that the ordination to the priesthood is not merely an ordination as a presbyter but as a presbyter with certain intermediary functions if not powers. He carries our priestly functions that are necessary to bridge the chasm between God and Man. So, there is a presbyter, a minister, who may be called “priest.” And there is a religious office of one acting as an intermediary between God and Man. You will find it surprising, but I am advocating that you need the latter not just the former. You need a true priest. No, my beloved, you need a High Priest. And so, do I.

The event of St. Patrick’s Day this weekend reminds me of the continuing divide between those who choose to wear the color green to honor that Welsh saint who crossed the Irish Sea to bring the gospel to the land of Éire.[3] Sadly, the green color has come to signify a resilient, radical Roman Catholicism standing in opposition to English Protestantism brought forward during the Glorious Revolution by William and Mary. William, was, of course, “William of Orange.”[4] He was a Dutch Royal of the house of Orange. Thus, the green Catholics and the Orange Protestants remember the coming of the Gospel to Ireland.[5] We are thankful that in the midst of this historical adversary relationship we can see signs of peacefulness. When both sides focus on the Lord Jesus Christ there is less division and more unity in faith in Jesus Christ. But my message this morning is not about the troubles in Ireland but about the troubles in our own soul. I say again that you and I need a priest.

I tell you that story not to introduce a sermon about unity between Roman Catholics and Protestants, but to draw your attention to the role of the priest. The priest is one who indeed goes out into the highways and byways picking up strangers and ministering to them and acting as an intermediary between man and God. Now, this was part of the goal of the author to the Hebrews living in Rome. He wrote to them to both defend the faith and equip them for sharing the faith out of a Jewish context. He did this by demonstrated that Jesus is the Messiah and is supreme over all of the types and shadows of the Old Covenant. Nothing is more central to the Jewish understanding of atonement than the high priest. The writer to the Hebrews is making an argument that Jesus of Nazareth is the ultimate high priest that was both promised and who is willing and able to bring us to the throne room of God, both in this life and in the life to come.

The passage is a remarkable one that has tremendous implications for our lives. The very simple message of this text is that you and I need a priest and Jesus Christ is our high priest.

As we look at Hebrews, chapter 5, verses 5 through 10, we come to see the benefits and blessings even as we see how the writer establishes Jesus as our high priest. There are three specific benefits of his priesthood that I would like to expound in this passage to demonstrate the necessity of Christ as our High Priest.

The first specific benefit of Christ’s priesthood may be thus stated:

1. Jesus Christ is the high priest and that gives us assurance  (v. 5, 6).

We read the text,

“So also, Christ did not exalt himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by him who said to him, ‘you are my Son, today I have begotten you’; as he says also in another place,’ “you are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”

The writer to the Hebrews obviously recognizes the importance of demonstrating that the Old Testament texts concerning the Messiah are being fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.[6] The writer quotes from Psalm 2 .7, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.” And he quotes from Psalm 110.4, “You or a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” This might be vague if a not downright perplexing reference to many, but not to studied Hebrew scholars who are assumed to be a part of the congregations in Rome. They would understand that the Messiah would have a priesthood that is not of men but is of God. The reference to Melchizedek goes all the way back to Abraham in Genesis 14.18.[7] Melchizedek, literally, “king of righteousness,” was a priest of an unknown order coming from Salem, the city of peace long before it was Israel’s capital when pagan societies dwelt there.[8],[9] Yet this Melchizedek is a man of God. How did he get to Salem? How is it that he was worthy of the offerings of a tenth of all that Abraham had? Melchizedek himself is a mysterious figure but he is a figure who has a very plausible identity: he is a priest of God. The priesthood of Aaron was sustained through the generations by the ancient rituals. Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist, the son of Zechariah the priest, was of Aaronic lineage and, therefore, a priest in the house of Israel. The priest was to be anointed at age thirty (Numbers 4:3) for his public ministry of intercession on behalf of Israel. It is certainly no coincidence that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ went to the priest, John the Baptist, to be anointed by him for the holy priesthood.[10] All of the baptisms that John was conducting beforehand were baptisms of repentance to prepare for the Messiah. Yet, the baptism that he gave Jesus was in fact of holy anointing to his priesthood. And yet Jesus was not of the lineage of Aaron, for Joseph was of the lineage of David, the king, and a prophet. Thus, our Savior is profit, priest, and King. But the focus of this text is his priestly ministry. What is the benefit for us?

The Aaronic priesthood was set up by God to demonstrate the necessity of conducting worship according to God’s way, recognizing the sinfulness of man and the need for cleansing, and providing a way of atonement through the sacrifice and offering of life, an animal’s life, and that animal must be without blemish. Therefore, the priest was a central figure in the dramatic unfolding the plan of God, that you and I should be saved by an unblemished lamb who is killed on an altar for our forgiveness enter provide the righteousness we need before a holy God.

Why didn’t God use a son of Aaron to do this? Why wasn’t the Messiah of the lineage of Aaron, rather than the lineage of David? Well, we say again, his kingship and his prophetic preaching were and are an extension of the biblical line of David. But his priesthood is not of the human lineage. He is a priest “after the order of Melchizedek.” In Genesis 14.18 the lineage of this mysterious figure is unknown. This serves both the Psalmist and the author of Hebrews: as in the unknown lineage of Melchizedek, so, too Christ’s priesthood is altogether divine and direct from God.

This gives us confidence. Jesus Christ is the direct mediator of the covenant of grace, the fulfillment of all of God’s promises. My beloved, your pastor needs a priest one that I can have confidence in. You need such a priest. And I declare to you that Jesus Christ our Lord is the high priest of heaven. He did not take this honor to himself, but it was appointed unto him by Almighty God. He was the one in heaven who stood to say that I will go and die for their sins and I will live the life they could not live. Thus, the Eternal Second Person of the One Triune God in the celebrated work of John Milton:

“Behold mee then, mee for him, life for life [line 236]

I offer, on mee let thine anger fall; There could be no human priest who could do this.”[11]

It could only be a priest after the mysterious order of Melchizedek, that is, a priest who is commissioned, who is ordained, directly from the throne of God. Let this priest declare that he will die on the third day he will live again, and, indeed, he does, this is the priest that we need. He is the priest that we have. And oh, what a glorious blessing it is to us. What confidence and joy, what assurance we have. Jesus is our high priest sent directly from God.

The second specific benefit of Christ’s priesthood is this:

2. Jesus Christ is our high priest who grants us access(7, 8).

I take this truth directly from the word of God in Hebrews chapter 5.7-8:

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered . . .”

In writing to the Hebrew Christians and the Hebrew inquirers in the capital city of Rome, the divinely inspired author his careful — we might better say “strategic” — in his descriptions of glory to Jesus Christ. He describes unto Jesus a high priesthood that is unlike any other. Scholars tell us that the Essenes were waiting for two messiahs: one of them who was a prophet and king, and the other who was a priest.[12] But Jesus was all of these. The inspired author to the Epistle to the Hebrews wanted to show them that since he was of the order of Melchizedek, that is, he was ordained directly by Almighty God, though “for righteousness sake” he was anointed under the priesthood by John the Baptist.[13] The author demonstrates that this high priest, even in his life, offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard…” This speaks not only to the light flowing ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in offering tearful prayers on our behalf but, pointedly, draws us to the closing, climactic dramatic scene of the crucifixion. There, on the altar, the Lamb of God was offered. In the high priest became the sacrifice. And the sacrifice of the high priest was one as he became the prophet, fulfilling the Old Testament Scriptures, even as he was on the cross. Crying out to Almighty God, “forgive them for they know not what they do.” In the Bible says that God heard him. Oh, this is the most beautiful part of all of this. Jesus is our high priest who went to the cross, became the sacrifice, ruled and governed over the universe while he was yet under the day darkened thunderous oppression of death. “And he was heard” what words that let us know that we have access to the Father through Jesus Christ.

There are many ambassadors and political appointees and cabinet members available for you to get to know. And perhaps if you get to know them you can have access to the President of the United States. Or, perhaps, you are a citizen of Great Britain you would like to see Queen Elizabeth II. You could go through the Prime Minister or you could go through one of the other members of the Court of Windsor that you happen to know. But if you really wanted to see the President and if you wanted to be guaranteed access to Queen Elizabeth II where would you go? I think I would go to the president’s daughter or the president’s son. If I wanted to see the Queen, I could be guaranteed access to her only through a member of her family. And in a similar way, you see, God has given you access to the very throne room of the universe, through the high priestly ministry of His Son, your friend, the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there have been those who have tried to breach the wall of Buckingham Palace and those who have jumped the guarded barricades of the White House. But you will not see the ruler of these two great nations in that way. In fact, you will be arrested and thrown in prison! In a similar way, but with far greater consequences, you cannot jump the barricades of heaven to see God. You cannot break through the “Gate of St. Peter” to have access to the throne room where cherubim and seraphim fly continually in wondrous and unimaginable praise. And what the writer to the Hebrews is trying to tell those Jewish believers and Jewish inquirers in the capital city of Rome is what God is saying to us: there is no other way unto the Father but through the Son.

Have you received Jesus Christ as your high priest? Unless you know him as a Friend you can have no access to the Father. Unless you know him as your elder brother you can have no access to the Father. Unless you know him as God and Savior you cannot have eternal life. But oh, to know Christ by faith. Oh, to take these words from Hebrews and take the testimony of the other apostles and prophets, take the testimonies of the martyrs through the passing years, and take the single greatest proof of all, the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and by faith you will know him as your friend, brother, and, yes, God and Savior. Jesus Christ is your access to the portals of heaven, to the acquittal at the judgment, and to everlasting life. More than that, He is your access this very second into the celestial throne room of Almighty God where you may say, “Father, receive me, a sinner, through Your Son, my resurrected and reigning Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thirdly, we must see this specific benefit of Christ’s priesthood for the believer:

3. Jesus Christ is our high priest who guarantees us acceptance (9, 10).

This third benefit to the believer it is clearly established upon verses 9-10:

“. . . and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, having been designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.”

I want you to be very careful in your interpretation of this passage. The writer says, “and having been made perfect…”[14] Some wrongly assumed that Jesus became the Christ through his obedience.[15] That is neither the intense northerly interpretation that we should take away from this sentence. Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in this it is understood without the slightest ambiguity as we read through the sacred texts. The writer is merely stating the Jesus Christ was born perfect and demonstrated his unassailable priesthood through a life without sin. Because of this, we may be certain that he is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him. Why? Because, once again to the centering point of the passage, Jesus is after the divine order of Melchizedek, ordained directly by God Almighty God, not by a human priesthood. And in all of this, we see the crescendo of this part of the letter: our Lord Jesus Christ is the high priest we need for eternal life. This priest does not bring atonement for only a festival season, nor only a year, nor any other limited period of time. His salvation is eternal. In Him we are accepted by our Creator now and forever. He died on the cross once for our sins. He offered up his life but once for our righteousness. He was resurrected from the grave but once. And he shall come again in glory. The author uses the phrase, “eternal salvation,” because the author’s warning to stress that the priestly benefits of the Lord Jesus Christ or unlike the priestly benefits of an ironic or human priesthood. Their work was done once per year. But Jesus accomplished all that we need and that one glorious, cross-centered moment when he said, “It is finished.” Thus, we have eternal life because we have eternal salvation.

There was once a Baptist minister who according to his tradition called for an invitation each Sunday after his sermon. The invitation system is one in which people may go forth to speak to the minister about re-dedicating their lives, transferring their letter of membership, or professing faith in Christ. Sometimes, it is for an abbreviated time of pastoral counseling. It was on a particular Sunday in the spring, much like today, when the pastor gave his sermon and then his invitation. Somewhere around the middle of the third stanza of “Just as I Am,” a very familiar figure rose from her pew, trundled past the other worshipers, made her way into the open aisle, paused, straightened herself up, and walked assertively from nave to chancel and, thus, toward the pastor. This was no surprise to anyone in the congregation and certainly not to the pastor. This lady would “walk the aisle” about every other Sunday. Once again, as he had done so many Sundays after his sermon, the pastor put his arm around the lady, bent down to where his ear was next to her mouth, to better hear. Then, she would unvaryingly whisper the same words of confession and faith. But on this morning, rather than listen to her, the pastor decided to speak first. “My dear woman,” the pastor began with tender, sympathetic tones, “why is it that you come down the aisle to see me so often.” The woman drew her head back in surprise as if he had just questioned whether the grass is green, and the sky blue. With her mouth open in astonishment, and her eyes as big as a saucer, she replied, “Why Pastor, don’t you know? I just keep getting saved over and over again.”

Many of us recognize the theological and Biblical error in the dear lady’s answer. We know that — as one of our parishioners told me this week—, “salvation is not like a twice baked potato.” We have been rightly taught that we are saved but oncethrough our God and Savior Jesus Christ. And so, in our correct analysis of the theological error, might be prone to laugh at the poor lady. And that might well be, with some here, a practical mistake. We might even be prone to shake our heads at the ancient Jewish liturgical system in which people must gather annually to receive their atonement (let us recall that the system was instituted by God), just like the woman walking the aisle every other service on Sunday to get saved. But let us be very cautious about our critique. I have found as a pastor that one of the greatest ailments in all of the Christian life is the spiritual disorder of a “lack of assurance.” How often I have seen this in the dying days of some saints who are not grounded in the gospel of grace. The priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ guarantees you eternal salvation and, therefore, eternal life which begins with one divine moment, a moment extended, timelessly, through eternity: a moment when God chose you from the foundation of the world, a moment when Jesus Christ died for you on the cross, a moment when His blood began to plead your acquittal before the judgement seat of God, a moment when you repented and received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior. In that hallowed moment that lives on forever, the life and death of our high priest stand for us before our Creator for not only all of the days of our lives but for eternity. And will you gamble with the time that God is giving you? Or, will you receive him today by faith?

Conclusion

So, the truth is, your pastor needs a priest and so do you. We need a priest who can give us assurance, grant us access, and guarantee access to God once and for all eternity.

My Aunt Eva who reared me would not have been a participant in anything to divide Protestants and Roman Catholics. She, rather, sought to find a bridge between the two. One of those pathways to unity is simply  human compassion. My father, born 1908, was a U.S. Coast Guard and Merchant Mariner officer during the Second World War. By the time he was 15, he was already sailing on merchant ships around the world as an able-bodied seaman (ABS). When World War II came, the Roosevelt’s new US Maritime Service officer program gave my father an opportunity to go to an academy and to become an officer. He went to the US Maritime Officer Training School at New London, Connecticut. For all of the days of my childhood, that diploma hung on my wall.[16] I was so proud of that as a boy. Well, the point of this is to tell you that like an entire generation of men, Jesse Ellis Milton saw many bad things during the war. His own ship was attacked by a U-boat off the coast of West Africa. He spent a long time in the hospital in South Africa before returning to New York and taking command of another troop transport ship. The effects of war and, yes, the ill-advised self-medication of alcohol, led him to a postwar existence that could be described in no other way than a downward spiral. One day in having a conversation about the differences between Roman Catholics and Protestants, which we didn’t have much of my neck of the woods, a visitor in our home began to besmirch the Roman priests. My Aunt Eva, rarely one to enter into debate, spoke up, “When Mike’s daddy was down and out, and when his Methodist preacher was nowhere to be found, the Catholic priests from a mission in New Orleans picked him up off the street and brought healing and comfort to him. They saved his life. I am sorry, but we just don’t talk bad about Catholics in our house.”

Well, in this House, the House of God, we exalt the office of Priest. But while we appreciate the good work of all clergy, Catholic or Protestant, it is the Office of the High Priest after the Order of Melchizedek that we exalt. For the perpetual possessor of that divine office is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Call for Him now by faith. For Jesus Christ is the Priest who comes to us, who picks us up out of the filth and grime, and an unrelenting downpour of dark spiritual elements that kill the soul. He picks us up in his nail-scarred hands and brings us to eternal safety. The priests of this world need that Priest. This pastor needs that Priest. And you do too. The Good News? He is a High Priest in Heaven for you if you will receive Him.

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beattie, Francis R. The Presbyterian Standards: An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. Greenville, SC: Southern Presbyterian Press, 1997.

Bercot, David W. Let Me Die in Ireland: The True Story of Patrick. Tyler, TX: Scroll Pub., 1999.

Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver, Charles A. Briggs, Edward Robinson, James Strong, and Wilhelm Gesenius. The Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic: Coded With the Numbering System from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 2015.

Calvin, J., A. McGrath, and J. I. Packer. Genesis. Crossway, 2001. https://books.google.com/books?id=Uvnbeie8xyAC.

DELCOR, M., and Burgess A. Pearson. “MELCHIZEDEK FROM GENESIS TO THE QUMRAN TEXTS AND THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.” Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period 2, no. 2 (1971): 115–35.

Gunkel, H., and M. E. Biddle. Genesis. Mercer University Press, 1997. https://books.google.com/books?id=-ZtH3hbGITkC.

Leithart, Peter. “Jesus’ Baptism into Priesthood.” Theopolis Institute | Bible. Liturgy. Culture. Accessed March 18, 2018. https://theopolisinstitute.com/jesus-baptism-into-priesthood/.

Liddell, Henry George, and Robert Scott. An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon., 2013.

Mason Hill Press. Melchizedek: King of Salem & High Priest of God. [Pownal, Vt.]: [Mason Hill], 1988.

McNamara, Martin. “Melchizedek: Gen 14,17-20 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature.” Biblica 81, no. 1 (2000): 1–31.

Miller, J. The Glorious Revolution. Taylor & Francis, 2014. https://books.google.com/books?id=m8QbCAAAQBAJ.

PETUCHOWSKI, JAKOB J. “THE CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE OF MELCHIZEDEK.” Hebrew Union College Annual 28 (1957): 127–36.

“Polity Glossary.” Accessed March 17, 2018. http://www.kencollins.com/glossary/polity.htm#priest.

Robb, Nesca A. William of Orange: A Personal Portrait. London: Heinemann, 1962.

Rooke, Deborah W. “Jesus as Royal Priest: Reflections on the Interpretation of the Melchizedek Tradition in Heb 7.” Biblica 81, no. 1 (2000): 81–94.

The NIV Study Bible. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2007.

Vallance, E. The Glorious Revolution: 1688 – Britain’s Fight for Liberty. Little, Brown Book Group, 2013. https://books.google.com/books?id=TKthPqAFXr0C.

Vincent, Marvin R. Word Studies in the New Testament. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1991.

“Was St Patrick Actually Welsh?” BBC News, March 17, 2015. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-31912199.

White, L. Michael. “A Portrait of Jesus’ World – The Essenes And The Dead Sea Scrolls.” Frontline, PBS. Accessed March 18, 2018. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/essenes.html.


Endnotes

[1] Unless otherwise noted, the author will cite passages from the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible. See

[2] One may use the English word priest to denote two different groups. The traditional Thomas Cranmer and Reformed usage of the word “priest” is an Anglo-Saxon translation of πρεσβúτερος, the presbytery. The other usage of “priest” refers to the word, as is translated in, e.g., Italian, sacerdote (which would be a translation from the Greek ἱερεύς, hiereus). The former word may refer, as it does in canonical Anglicanism, to the primary pastoral office of the clergyman, i.e., the pastoral office-holder in the Church, who carries out the ministerial duties laid forth in Scripture. The other is a sacerdotal, hierarchical term. In this paper, I am using the term “priest” in the Roman sense. You and I need a “sacerdotal” mediator between God and Man. I will make that case based upon the teaching of Hebrews 5:5-10. For further study, see Liddell and Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon : Founded upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon., 301, 668. Also, see the very helpful page of Ken Collins, “Polity Glossary,” sec. Priest.

[3] See Bercot, Let Me Die in Ireland : The True Story of Patrick; “Was St Patrick Actually Welsh?”

[4] For a study on this extraordinary Dutch figure in English-speaking history, see, e.g., Robb, William of Orange : A Personal Portrait.

[5] For a fresh take, as well as the more traditional views, on the Glorious Revolution see Miller, The Glorious Revolution; Vallance, The Glorious Revolution: 1688 – Britain’s Fight for Liberty.

[6] “The letter was addressed primarily to Jewish converts who were familiar with the OT (Old Testament) and who were being tempted to revert to Judaism or to Judaise the gospel . . .” The NIV Study Bible., 1817.

[7] I consulted a wide-range of research, both Jewish, Christian, and academic. Consider, DELCOR and Pearson, “MELCHIZEDEK FROM GENESIS TO THE QUMRAN TEXTS AND THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS”; Mason Hill Press., Melchizedek : King of Salem & High Priest of God.; McNamara, “Melchizedek: Gen 14,17-20 in the Targums, in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature”; PETUCHOWSKI, “THE CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE OF MELCHIZEDEK”; Rooke, “Jesus as Royal Priest: Reflections on the Interpretation of the Melchizedek Tradition in Heb 7.”

[8] מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶֿק malkī-ṣeḏeq, meaning “king of righteousness.” See Brown et al., The Brown, Driver, Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon : With an Appendix Containing the Biblical Aramaic : Coded with the Numbering System from Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 575.

[9] Some scholars have suggested that the origins of Melchizedek were pagan. This is refuted by both John Calvin and Hermann Gunkel. See Calvin, McGrath, and Packer, Genesis, 129–33; Gunkel and Biddle, Genesis.

[10] For a scholarly reflection on Jesus’ baptism and the “baptism” of priests in the Old Testament (Aaron and his sons . . . were “baptized” by Moses at the time of their ordination [Lev. 8:6; see also Lev. 14:7; and Num. 19:19]), see Leithart, “Jesus’ Baptism Into Priesthood.”

[11] “Paradise Lost: Book 3.” 2018. Dartmouth.Edu. Accessed March 18, 2018. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_3/text.shtml.

[12] Dr. Michael White of the University of Texas at Austin responded, “At Qumran, on the other hand, among the Dead Sea Scrolls, we hear not of just one Messiah, but at least two Messiahs. Some of their writings talk about a Messiah of David that is a kind of kingly figure who will come to lead the war. But there’s also a Messiah of Aaron, a priestly figure, who will come to restore the Temple at Jerusalem to its proper purity and worship of God. In addition to these two major Messianic figures, we also hear of a prophet figure.” See White, “A Portrait Of Jesus’ World – The Essenes And The Dead Sea Scrolls.”

[13] “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,4 with whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:13-17)).

[14] “’And being made perfect (καὶ τελεωθεὶς).’ Comp. Hebrews 2:10. The fundamental idea in τελειοῦν is the bringing of a person or thing to the goal fixed by God. Comp. Hebrews 7:11, Hebrews 7:19; Hebrews 9:9; Hebrews 10:1, Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 11:40; Hebrews 12:23. Here of Christ’s having reached the end which was contemplated in his divinely-appointed discipline for the priesthood.” See Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament.

[15] The Westminster Confession of Faith provides advice on interpretive difficulties like this one: “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” See Beattie, The Presbyterian Standards: An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, sec. 1.9.

[16] It was, later, stolen. It remains a great loss to me. If anyone knows of records for the U.S. Maritime Officers Training School, please contact me. Thank you.